Almost every gardener I know always complains they have too much of this or that during the growing season. If you are one of these fine people, and I am among them, there is something you can do about it. No, it isn’t planting fewer plants. Don’t even think that!
You can donate your extra produce. And, no, I don’t mean to me, although I would probably take it. Donate your extra produce to the Food Bank!
I got an email from Mike Lind, the Director of External Relations at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. They have a program called Fresh Food for Families. This is the third year of the program and it goes something like this:
Plant extra plants and then donate the produce the the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. They will take your donations Monday through Friday and will even pick them up if they are over 100 pounds. You can also drop your extra produce off at Rotts Market in Cedar Falls on Thursdays. They are located at 2021 Main Street in Cedar Falls, north of University Avenue. Make sure that you put your name and address with your donation if you would like a receipt.
Donations will stay local and Mike mentions that “1 in 6 are food insecure in Iowa, which mean not having an adequate amount of nutritious food.”
While this email pertains to the Cedar Valley area around Waterloo, you can contact your local food pantry and see if they want your excess produce. Chances are they will love it. The kids with the Vinton Youth Garden donated some of our excess produce last year to the Benton County Food Pantry. The kids even got a tour of the facilities and learned that many of the people who utilize the food pantry don’t get enough fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets because it is too expensive for the Pantry to purchase the fresh stuff. They rely on donations so that they can help even more families.
Contact your local food pantry or even a senior dining center to see if they can use your extra produce.
If you are interested in helping out the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, contact Sheri Huber-Otting at 319-235-0507 ext. 114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.